Photo Credit: Johnny Dent Photography
The ceremony should be the highlight of any wedding. It’s the reason for bringing everyone together. It’s the reason for the celebration and rightly should be the focus of your big day. A wedding ceremony is one of the few life events that celebrates you and those who you love.
For all these reasons it should be respected and given the due consideration it deserves this will result in a ceremony that will be remembered and cherished by you and all those that attend. So how do you start planning it and make the right choice for you.
Time to talk ceremony
Engagement season is approaching. It is well documented that December and over Christmas is a popular time for proposals. If you are one of the lucky ones who has recently become engaged, there suddenly will be lots to think about. Your ceremony will be high on your wedding planning list.
What is ceremony
Ceremony is, and has been throughout time, a means used worldwide, in many differing cultures and religions to celebrate and mark a life event. Often filled with ritual, ceremony allows us to acknowledge a rite of passage be it a new beginning, a transition or a conclusion. It unites people and gives people a feeling of belonging. No better example of this is a wedding ceremony.
Photo credit: Nick W Photography
Your choice of ceremony
Your choice of ceremony is important. And remember it is your choice. Yes there are well trodden routes but that does not mean you have to follow them.
Your ceremony should reflect your beliefs and your values. A good start is to begin by thinking what it actually means to you. Are you religious? Are you non-religious but love the familiar traditional elements of a church wedding? Are you a humanist? Are you spiritual? These are all the sorts of questions you should be thinking about before making a decision on where your ceremony should happen and indeed who you want to lead it.
Believe it or not there are more than 2 options for your ceremony. It is not just a church wedding or a registrar led non religious civil ceremony. If you are keen for your ceremony to be completely personalised, meaningful and to reflect you as well as having control over its content, this is entirely possible. Both religious and civil non religious ceremonies have legal obligations.
Celebrant led ceremonies are lesser known but facilitate complete personalisation and flexibility. There are no obligations at all. Read my blogs https://fanfareceremonies.co.uk/registrar-or-celebrant-which-is-best/ and https://fanfareceremonies.co.uk/4-reasons-not-to-use-a-wedding-celebrant/ both of which spell out the many many reasons why you should look into the possibility of booking a celebrant for your civil wedding ceremony.
The legal ceremony
For me personally this is less a ceremony and more your marriage contract. Granted a very important element. But not your wedding ceremony. It can be included within a wedding ceremony or be completely separate.
Be warned that by including it within your ceremony will immediately restrict you on many levels. It will affect your freedom to choose who leads your ceremony, where and when it is held and what is said within it.
Photo credit: Maryanne weddings
Is your ceremony to be based around a legal contract or you?
At the end of the day this is the dilemma. Yes your ceremony can include the legal declaratory words but you will have to compromise your control over it.
The most valuable purpose of the ceremony is to provide the opportunity to make heartfelt, personal spoken promises. A ceremony conducted by a registrar contains promises but they are either generic or have to be approved beforehand.
It’s these personal promises that form the basis of the marriage and the ceremony should emphasise and clarify those promises to the families and friends that attend. By creating a truly personalised ceremony and telling your story everyone will have no doubt regarding the meaning of the promises. The focus of the ceremony is on you and your promises not on the legalities.
A declaration of love and support
A wedding ceremony is a public declaration of love and support rather than just a legal transaction. It’s a time for two families and two sets of friends to join and celebrate to become one. All it requires is the people getting married to commit to each other and you should be free to define that commitment yourselves and how you want to.
Far from being “just a party,” wedding ceremonies are the public declaration of that commitment.
Photo credit: Mimosa Photography
Why you are having a wedding ceremony?
You need to ask yourself what’s the purpose of this ceremony. I find that the process of creating a bespoke ceremony makes couples really reflect on their relationship and indeed why they are having a wedding at all. It is after all a serious commitment. It’s not just the throwing of a party nor is it just the legal contract.
When I meet my couples one of the first questions I ask them is ‘why are you marrying each other’. It may seem rather trite but it is a meaningful and important question and one that should be remembered whichever choice you make for your ceremony.
Ceremony does not need to feel outdated. No one is forcing you to follow strict doctrines. Free yourselves from the conditioning of what is normal. Tap into your truest self and create something really special and unique that deeply resonates with your own meaning and energy.
Trust in your abilities to know what is right for you and create your ceremony. An independent celebrant will craft a script that celebrates your uniqueness and your love for each other and your community. It might combine all sorts of symbolic rituals if that’s your taste or simply a personal, fun and warm reflection of your story and love.
The freedom of planning this way will lead you to some wonderful twists on old ideas, resulting in a new set of modern traditions in ceremony.
So many of my couples have said that working with me to create their wedding ceremony is a truly cathartic process. By talking about their ceremony it made them think about how special their relationship was and what getting married really meant to them. And, I hasten to add, how much they enjoyed working on it
I promise we will have fun, share loads of laughs and that together we can create a ceremony that is worthy of both of you. Please get in touch if you’d like to hear more.